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written by AnnMarie Thomas
Squishy Circuits was developed to teach circuit electricity by letting students build circuits from a PlayDoh-like substance. There are two simple recipes for making the dough, one conductive and one insulating. A wide range of circuits can be designed using the dough and different circuit elements, ranging from simple battery and bulb circuits through circuits controlled with an Arduino. Lesson plans and the dough recipes are freely available and kits are available for purchase with dough and circuit elements.

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Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
Electricity & Magnetism
- DC Circuits
- Electromotive Force and Current
= Cells and Batteries
- Resistance
Other Sciences
- Engineering
- Elementary School
- Middle School
- High School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Laboratory
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Activity
- Laboratory
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
General Public
Access Rights:
Free access and
Available for purchase
Lessons and background information are free; kits are available for purchase at about $20.
© 2007 Squishy Circuits
Play Doh circuits, circuit construction, dough circuits, motor, parallel circuit, series circuit
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created November 25, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 21, 2020 by Bruce Mason

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

3. The Nature of Technology

3B. Design and Systems
  • 3-5: 3B/E2. Even a good design may fail. Sometimes steps can be taken ahead of time to reduce the likelihood of failure, but it cannot be entirely eliminated.

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 3-5: 4D/E5. Substances may move from place to place, but they never appear out of nowhere and never just disappear.
  • 3-5: 4D/E6. All materials have certain physical properties, such as strength, hardness, flexibility, durability, resistance to water and fire, and ease of conducting heat.
  • 6-8: 4D/M9. Materials vary in how they respond to electric currents, magnetic forces, and visible light or other electromagnetic waves.
4E. Energy Transformations
  • 6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 6-8: 4G/M4. Electrical circuits require a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass.
  • 6-8: 4G/M5. A charged object can be charged in one of two ways, which we call either positively charged or negatively charged. Two objects that are charged in the same manner exert a force of repulsion on each other, while oppositely charged objects exert a force of attraction on each other.

8. The Designed World

8C. Energy Sources and Use
  • 6-8: 8C/M4. Electrical energy can be generated from a variety of energy resources and can be transformed into almost any other form of energy. Electric circuits are used to distribute energy quickly and conveniently to distant locations.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Electricity and Electrical Energy
Unit Title: Teaching About Electricity in the Middle Grades

Want a seriously fun activity to introduce younger kids to electric circuits, but without the set-up hassle of circuit boards, resistors, leads, and switches? This innovative website, developed by an engineering professor, gives recipes for making circuits with homemade Play-Doh (one recipe for conducting dough; one for insulating dough). Other materials include LED's and a battery pack. HUGELY fun.

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Record Link
AIP Format
A. Thomas, (2007), WWW Document, (https://squishycircuits.com/).
A. Thomas, Squishy Circuits (2007), <https://squishycircuits.com/>.
APA Format
Thomas, A. (2007). Squishy Circuits. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from https://squishycircuits.com/
Chicago Format
Thomas, AnnMarie. Squishy Circuits. 2007. https://squishycircuits.com/ (accessed 16 June 2024).
MLA Format
Thomas, AnnMarie. Squishy Circuits. 2007. 16 June 2024 <https://squishycircuits.com/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "AnnMarie Thomas", Title = {Squishy Circuits}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {16 June 2024}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%A AnnMarie Thomas %T Squishy Circuits %D 2007 %U https://squishycircuits.com/ %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Thomas, AnnMarie %D 2007 %T Squishy Circuits %V 2024 %N 16 June 2024 %9 application/pdf %U https://squishycircuits.com/

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